Category Archives: File Sharing

How To Issue A DMCA Takedown Notice To Google

Its always exciting when an artist has a new release go public, but these days (and I’m old enough to have had vinyl/CD only releases in the 90s) its often tempered by the fact that the same day your release gets out it also appears on P2P networks and the endless pile of borderline legal filehosts. So, to try and keep an eye on things the first thing I do is sign up for Google alerts for new mentions of both my artist name, 99th Floor Elevators and the title of any new release, in this case ’99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP’.

99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP

Of course the very next day of my latest release I did my usual Google search query and although the Beatport (they had the exclusive option on the release for the first few weeks) entry was top of the SERPs, and my own 99th Floor Elevators MP3 page was second, queuing up in the majority of the results underneath was a swarm of outlets offering that very same release, free, most even showing the official MP3 artwork, one even having the cheek to use Beatports widget so ‘freetards’ could stream the tracks first!

First things first. I contacted the offending websites in the top 20 results (and this really is like playing whack-a-mole*) and issued DMCA’s (here’s a sample DMCA takedown notice), then I (for starters, I’ll be repeating the process today) filled in Google’s online DMCA takedown submission form with a sample of offenders from the top 10. Be aware that there is a separate process for YouTube.

Anyway, to cut a long story short the results from the first page that I had submitted to Google were gone less than 24 hours later. Bravo.

99th Floor Elevators issue DMCA takedowns to Google

Of course, the very same day those links that were removed were now being replaced by a whole host of new parasites (to which hopefully the same process will remove them as quickly!).

If you want to go through the same process yourself , read this piece from IP Watchdog, which will help you write a template DMCA notice to issue to individual websites (separate to filling in Google’s online submission form).

Sample DMCA Takedown Letter instructions.

You’ll generally find that the file hosts are much less responsive than Google, if they respond at all, but issue them anyway. Then, get them removed from the Google SERPs. Start here:

Removing Content From Google (Google Help)

And do remember also that this process is very much the same whether you’re finding your images used, videos or anything being shared or exploited, without your permission. There’s a separate process for infringement on YouTube.

Related Reading

Safe Harbor Not Loophole: Five Things We Could Do Right Now to Make the DMCA Notice and Takedown Work Better (The Trichordist)
Google URL Takedown Requests Up 100% In a Month, Up 1137% On 2011 (Torrent Freak)
The DMCA is not an Alibi: The Googlization of Art and Artists (Music Tech Policy)
Pirate Bay block effectiveness short-lived, data suggests (BBC News)
Stock DMCA Letters (Plagiarism Today)
Game of Whack a Mole Continues as Big UK ISPs Block More Pirate Bay IPs (ISPReview)
DMCA Takedown 101 (Brainz.org)

Google Respond Within 24 Hours To My DMCA Takedown Notice

Its always exciting when an artist has a new release go public, but these days (and I’m old enough to have had vinyl/CD only releases in the 90s) its often tempered by the fact that the same day your release gets out it also appears on P2P networks and the endless pile of borderline legal filehosts. So, to try and keep an eye on things the first thing I do is sign up for Google alerts for new mentions of both my artist name, 99th Floor Elevators and the title of any new release, in this case ’99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP’.

99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP

Of course the very next day of my latest release I did my usual Google search query and although the Beatport (they had the exclusive option on the release for the first few weeks) entry was top of the SERPs, and my own 99th Floor Elevators MP3 page was second, queuing up in the majority of the results underneath was a swarm of outlets offering that very same release, free, most even showing the official MP3 artwork, one even having the cheek to use Beatports widget so ‘freetards’ could stream the tracks first!

First things first. I contacted the offending websites in the top 20 results (and this really is like playing whack-a-mole*) and issued DMCA’s (here’s a sample DMCA takedown notice), then I (for starters, I’ll be repeating the process today) filled in Google’s online DMCA takedown submission form with a sample of offenders from the top 10. Be aware that there is a separate process for YouTube.

Anyway, to cut a long story short the results from the first page that I had submitted to Google were gone less than 24 hours later. Bravo.

99th Floor Elevators issue DMCA takedowns to Google

Of course, the very same day those links that were removed were now being replaced by a whole host of new parasites (to which hopefully the same process will remove them as quickly!).

If you want to go through the same process yourself , read this piece from IP Watchdog, which will help you write a template DMCA notice to issue to individual websites (separate to filling in Google’s online submission form).

Sample DMCA Takedown Letter instructions. You’ll generally find that the file hosts are much less responsive than Google, if they respond at all, but issue them anyway. Then, get them removed from the Google SERPs. Start here:

Removing Content From Google (Google Help)

Related Reading

Safe Harbor Not Loophole: Five Things We Could Do Right Now to Make the DMCA Notice and Takedown Work Better (The Trichordist)
Google URL Takedown Requests Up 100% In a Month, Up 1137% On 2011 (Torrent Freak)
The DMCA is not an Alibi: The Googlization of Art and Artists (Music Tech Policy)
Pirate Bay block effectiveness short-lived, data suggests (BBC News)
Stock DMCA Letters (Plagiarism Today)
Game of Whack a Mole Continues as Big UK ISPs Block More Pirate Bay IPs (ISPReview)
DMCA Takedown 101 (Brainz.org)

Viinyl.com. MP3 Singles Promotion In ‘3D’

Viinyl is a cool new service from Canada that enables anyone to create an interactive single song-site within minutes that comes with lyrics, artwork, videos, notes, various download options, promotional tools and analytics.

I was able to upload a track, add a YouTube video, about page and sort out my one page site in just a few minutes here. It’s a great tool for bands and artists who want a way of dishing out a free download in exchange for that all important email, or as a mini EPK or simply as a quick introduction for a promoter, potential manager or A&R.

The service is in Beta invite only mode right now as they test and add new features. What is looking promising is the possible use of Viinyl as use as a satellite micro-site for acts to promote singles once Viinyl add buy links (iTunes and AmazonMP3 purchase links are  on the way.)

Right now Viinyl offers the option of adding YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace social network links and integration with services like Soundcloud is promised within the next few weeks. One neat touch is the ability to add your Google Analytics code for extra tracking.

Viinyl.com MP3 Promotion for artists

The site reads , “The Viinyl platform turns your song into an interactive website – a digital version of the 45rpm single with artwork and videos. Viinyl sites are optimized to travel the web, engage fans, grow market demand for your band and increase customer loyalty using marketing techniques for the web.”

My only ‘difficulty’ with Viinyl was preparing the background image for the page, and getting it positioned correctly, which proved time consuming without any template guidelines. Not a problem you’d encounter if you were using a single large image (guidelines are 1280 x 800px), but if you were trying to position logos and the like it takes a few attempts to position things correctly. CEO Armine Saidi promises a template system to counter these potential problems asap.

All in all, its a fantastic looking service, very easy to use and will prove to be even more invaluable when the promised new mods and additions come into play in a few weeks.

Some great examples of Viinyl users here.

Related Reading

Music Singles Enjoy Record Breaking Year (The Guardian)
Official UK Chart Rules (OfficialCharts.com) PDF
Billboard Digital Songs (Billboard.com)
Best Year EVER For UK Digital Music Singles (Slyck.com)

Torrent Distribution Experiment

I mentioned the free music as viral marketing thing in an earlier post and thought I’d expand on it here.

I’ve just uploaded a bunch of some of the earlier versions of the 99th Floor Elevators, ‘Hooked’ for free download via MiniNova distribution. Think of it as an experiment to see if this has any effect on raising the profile of the 99th Floor Elevators in expectation of new material later this year and newer remixes of ‘Hooked’ also coming from Suesse Records.

Its all packaged as a Torrent and you’ll get five remixes and the original promotional video of ‘Hooked’ that was broadcast on MTV way back when. You can see the video on YouTube (see Elevators blog post here).

The audio files are all 192kbps MP3’s and the mixes included are:

Hooked Classic Remixes

Hooked-0d40412inch

Tony deVit Classic Trade Remix. This was the one that really made things fly for the 99th Floor Elevators, taking the humble white label original mix and stretching it into a near ten minute arms in the air club monster. Much credit must be given to Tony’s low profile engineer/co-producer Simon Parkes.

Originally a national top 30 hit in the UK before being re-issued as part of a Tripoli Trax double twelve inch remix package.

KillerHurts RemixDJ James Nardi and production partner Julian Dwyer, took chunks of inspiration from the OD404 and Pete Wardman remixes, added their own nails and came up with probably the perfect hard-house mix ever. Available on one sided 12 inch too if you’re lucky enough to find one.

Paul King Remix. Paul basically re-invents/updates the TDV mix for the 21st century with a monster synth riff from the Gods 2.30 minutes in that’ll have arms reaching for the sky. Previously available only as a very hard to find one sided 12inch white. Over nine minutes long.

torrent

OD404 Remix. Possibly my personal favorite mix and one I never tire of. Managed to take a Euro house gay anthem and turn it into the Prodigy with kick drums. Awesome.

Phlash Pop Edit. Only ever seen on a very limited release Tripoli Trax white label vinyl 12 and later on a CD single. Phlash! were ex-Tripoli A&R guy and DJ Steve Hill and engineer Mick Shiner (aka Nylon) and if you like your dance bouncy and radio friendly this is the version for you. Infectious stuff.

If you prefer the traditional route of MP3 download then you can grab each MP3 on my Drop.io page where you can either stream or download each track before deciding on the Torrent option.

I use and recommend UTorrent for my Torrents. Its less than half a meg download and spyware free. Install if you don’t already have a Torrent client.

Go to the ‘Hooked’ Torrent download link here. It’ll automatically open your Torrent client and you’ll get a pop up box so you can select which mixes you want and which you don’t want, if you don’t want the whole bunch. Click OK when you’re done and that’s it.

The files are very well seeded (well over 100 seeds as I write) so it’ll take something like 15 minutes to download the whole 74mb collection, depending on your connection speed. There’s a U Torrent beginners guide here and details on MiniNova Torrent distribution here if you’re considering getting some of your own tracks out and about ultra quick.

I uploaded the Hooked files to Mininova lunch time yesterday, by the time I’d left work five hours later Google had already indexed ’99th Floor Elevators Torrent’ and it was being seeded by users. A day later the package has over 100 seeders which means excellent download speed and availability.

Related Links

Mininova Content Distribution (Mininova.org)
Hey Content Producers, Get In The P2P Torrent Cloud (Lx7.ca)
Embracing The Torrent Of Online Video (BBC)
Thoughts On BitTorrent Distribution For A Public Broadcaster (NRKBeta)
Why You Must and How to Implement a Free Song Strategy (UnsprungMedia.com)

Viral Marketing Doesn’t Work, Tell Everybody. Music Marketing Pt.2

I wrote about some more ‘leftfield’ music marketing ideas earlier this week and continue here with some more brain storming that may give you some leads.

99th Floor Elevators-'Hooked'

One thing that has really taken off in the last year or so with artists is free album downloads, with high profile artists like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails getting the most column inches.

NIN’s album ‘Ghosts l-lV’ was Amazon’s best selling album of 2008 despite the fact that the album was legally available as a free download on filesharing networks.

It was significant also in that it was released totally free of record label shackles, Trent Reznor instead choosing to use digital music distributor Tunecore to make the 36 tracks available for download.

The band are said to have made close to two million dollars in a week from selling high-end limited edition versions of the album. The follow up album, ‘The Slip’ uses a similar marketing tactic.

Now obviously anyone reading this isn’t going to have that kind of following but artists can still use the same principles on a smaller scale. I’m trying it myself by giving away some of the original dance mixes of 99th Floor Elevators ‘Hooked’ here. A package that includes five different mixes and even the original promo video which you can see just above.

You can get individual mixes (as 192kbps MP3 files) or the whole package as a zipped download. There’s even a Bit Torrent link here. Download and seed.

Does this devalue my old mixes? Well no, its a ‘risk free’ introduction that will hopefully grab some new listeners who’ll be stimulated enough to be interested in the forthcoming newer mixes and also helps keep the name floating around the web in between new material coming out later in the year. People can also head to Amazon to buy other material on CD and download.

I used UTorrent to make the Torrent, instructions you can find here and here. I used Drop.io to host the MP3 downloads, a great straight forward service with no sign up required and no waiting through crappy ad loops that you find on free file hosts like Zshare.com

The message here? Speculate to accumulate to put it simply. Despite lots of negative press CDs are alive and well, vinyl is having a revival, fans ARE still willing to pay for quality music in premium packaging. Ex-Strangler Hugh Cornwall is the latest ‘name’ artist to try this route with his album ‘Hooverdamn’. Where, besides the free MP3 version you can grab the album on various vinyl, CD and DVD packages.

Download the 99th Floor Elevators ‘Hooked’ original remixes and promo video here or here. Or via BitTorrent here.

Contd tomorrow………

Related Research
How To Create A Torrent (Torrent Freak)
A Beginners Guide To Bit Torrent (BitTorrent.com)
How To Make A Torrent (UTorrent.com)
More Bands Oasis, Jamiroquai To Follow Radiohead (Daily Telegraph)
Steal Throwdown’s Music Please (Mashable.com)
Free Music Initiative Has Sparked 119% Rise In Sales (Mashable.com)
Why We’re Releasing Our Latest Album For Free On The Internet (HarveyDanger.com)
Band Recognizes Free, Unencumbered Downloads Are Part Of A Publicity Campaign (Techdirt.com)
Radiohead Shocks Record Industry With Free Download Of New Album (Zeropaid.com)

File Sharing With GMail

Back in May we wrote about some useful GMail hacks, including the GMail Drive shell extension, which basically enabled you to use the allocated 2GB+ of storage space at Google as a mini hard drive, even going as far as sitting a little hard drive icon in Start>My Computer on your PC for you to drag files too.
G2G Exchange Makes Use Of GMails 2GB space for P2P File sharing
Latest GMail hack is the G2G Exchange which basically enables GMail users to swop files that are stored on their GMail accounts. Google has a 20mb email limit so bigger files have to compressed or split as multiple files. G2G apparently will recognize these files and display them as one complete file.

More GMail Hacks

Roam Drive (Roamdrive.com)
Ten Cool Gmail Hacks (Makezine.com)
GMail Tools and Plugins (Igniq.com)
gDisk (Sourceforge.net)

Mashboxx and Snocap Get Busy

We covered early developments on the forthcoming legal P2P services, from Mashboxx and Snocap back in November of last year. Napster (MK 1) founder Shaun Fanning’s new legal P2P (ie:major label friendly) service Snocap had agreed a deal with the Universal Music Group to distribute the major labels content using the digital fingerprinting software being adapted from a Philips blueprint.

At the same time Sony/BMG had been in talks with Mashboxx boss, ex-Grokster and Blubster president, Wayne Rosso.
Mashboxx and Snocap continue to make in roads with major labels to enable a music industry approved P2P system

Snocaps talks with the EMI Group began almost six months ago and an official deal with the UK major was announced to the press yesterday.

David Munns, Chairman and CEO for EMI Music, North America said in a statement, “This deal with Snocap underscores EMI’s commitment to developing legitimate ways to deliver our music in more ways to more fans, including peer-to-peer distribution models that ensure creators are compensated for their works.”

He continued, “This sends a signal to music industry critics who claim we are technophobic. If anything, we are embracing technologies like Snocap, which allow the P2P community to share music legally. It’s a big step forward for fans, artists and copyright owners.”

Mashboxx, who are going to be using the Snocap technology for their own P2P service started signing up beta testers on their website today, for the yet to be seen music delivery service.

Snocap is a technology embedded in a P2P network to block sharing of unauthorized works, including unlicensed music and pornography and facilitate commercial transactions. Audio fingerprinting provides the digital ‘fingerprint’ of an audio recording by deriving unique features that can be used to identify the music by comparing it with reference fingerprints stored in a central database.

That fingerprinting tool could be integrated into the file-swapping software itself in several different ways. Once an identification is made, the download could be blocked, unless the computer user pays a fee, as if they were downloading a song from iTunes or another digital song store.

Mashboxx’s P2P app will use Fanning’s technology to reveal which shared songs are being monitored on behalf of Snocap’s label customers. Download a track that is, and Mashboxx’s software slips in a DRM-protected version that invites you to pay, to listen, to burn or whatever usage the copyright holder permits.

Background Reading

EMI Signs Up For ‘Authorised’ Online Music Sharing [Reuters]
Mashboxx Opens Beta Test Scheme [theRegister.com]
EMI Signs on With Snocap [Slyck.com]
Content Identification:Audio Fingerprinting [Philips Research]
Napster Founder in Major Label P2P Talks [Buzzsonic News]
EMI Records Join the Snocap Queue [Buzzsonic News]
Napster Guru Fanning Breaks Snocap Silence [Buzzsonic News]
Grokster [Wikipedia]
The Major Labels [PBS Frontline]
Wayne Rosso on File-Sharing Frontiers [TechNewsWorld.com]

Primal Scream Get The Mash-up Treatment

Primal Scream are the latest in a long line of artists to be ‘honoured’ by getting some of their best known music hacked and rehashed by a group of Mash-up bootleg remixers.
The Beatles, the Beastie Boys, the Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers, Blur and the Clash have all recently been given the unofficial remix treatment by DJ ‘Mashers’.

Primal Screams classic 1991 UK indie-dance crossover album ‘Screamadelica’ was hailed by NME writers as one of the top albums of all time in 2003. The original album boasted production credits from UK club legend Andy Weatherall, the Orb and veteran Rolling Stones producer, Jimmy Miller.

Screamadelica, Primal Screams classic 1991 album gets mashed up.

The remade opus, ‘Screamadelica-Primal Scream Remixed’ was reworked by some of the main players in the UK bootleg / remix community including Mark Vidler (who produced the albums bonus track, ‘Screamadelica’), Soundhog, Tone 396, FakeID, Dunproofin and Cry On My Console, amongst others.

Like all the best made projects in this vein, the album is available for download as a BitTorrent file. The makers are eager to confess, “ We don’t pretend to think this comes close to the Scream’s masterpiece, but then nothing else does. So what primalscreamremixed.com offers is a different spin, moving from chill through dub via glitch to drum & bass. Not a million miles away from the eclecticism of the source.”

Thanks to Beatmixed.com

Related Links

Get Your Bootleg On [GYBO]
Culture Deluxe [CultureDeluxe.com]
Bootie San Francisco [BootieSF.com]
Twenty Questions [TwentyQ.Blogspot]
BitTorrent FAQ and Guide [Dessent.net]
Bastard Pop [Wikipedia.org]
Boom Selection [Boomselection.info]

Freenet Creator Launches the Google Of Indie Music

P2P software pioneer Ian Clarke, creator of the Open Source P2P platforms Freenet and more recently Dijjer has this week quietly unveiled his latest project, Indy.

Ian Clarke, the P2P software pioneer behind Freenet and Dijjer this week unveiled his latest project, Indy

Speaking to P2PNet Clarke promised that Indy, “does for freely available independent music what Google does for the world wide web.” Indy uses collaborative filtering, a system similar to that used by Amazon to recommend books, etc, to prospective buyers, to learn about your musical preferences in relation to other Indy users.

“Everything it plays is from online indie music freely available on the web and you can rate each piece at between one and five stars. Using that as feedback, Indy will find and download music that’s keyed to what you like as opposed to what you don’t like.”

“We were concerned that even with all of the advancements with online media in the past few years, it was still pretty difficult just to find new independent music that you liked.”

According to Clarke, Indy is inspired by iRate, another collaborative music filtering set-up. As users rate music in iRate it automatically finds more free music that you’ll like by finding people with similar music tastes. Indy is said to have a much cleaner and simpler user interface and it is freely available for Windows OS initially with other platforms in development.

Submit Music to Indy

Related Links

iRate Radio [iRateRadio.com]
Freenet Creator Unveils Dijjer P2P [Buzzsonic News]
Dijjer [Dijjer.org]
The Free Network Project [Sourceforge]
Mobster [Sourceforge]
Collaborative Filtering Research Papers [JamesThornton.com]
Collaborative Filtering Comes To Independent Music Makers [MasterNewMedia.org]
The Music Business and the Big Flip [Shirky.com]
InDiscover [InDiscover.net]

Internet2. The Honeymoon Is Over

We ran a report on the uber-fast Internet2 college broadband network back in November last year. At the time the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) were said to be in tentative talks with the administrators of Internet2, hoping both to test next-generation video delivery projects and to monitor peer-to-peer piracy on the ultra high-speed network.

The US student file sharing network i2hub was the latest target for RIAA lawsuits today

No great surprise that today the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed lawsuits against 405 students at 18 colleges in the U.S. , alleging that they are using the private-research network to trade pirated songs. According to the RIAA, students with access to Internet2 are increasingly using a file-sharing application called i2hub to “steal copyrighted songs and other works on a massive scale,” the organization said in a statement released yesterday.

“Students find i2hub especially appealing because they mistakenly believe their illegal file-sharing activities can’t be detected in the closed environment of the Internet2 network,” it continued.

To connect to this extremely fast network students need to download a free client from Direct Connect who’s website states, “Unlike other impersonal, server-driven file-sharing networks, Direct Connect offers a community-oriented, open, user-controlled network.”

Internet2 is part of the Abilene network and is essentially a vastly faster version of the Internet, a proving ground for high-bandwidth technologies. Speaking to Tech Republic last year Steve Corbato, the director of backbone network infrastructure for Internet2 said, “Abilene has become a necessity for research universities,and it’s not just about building a really fast network. University members rely on it to collaborate with colleagues and students around the world.”

The network used by Internet2 was launched in 1998 by a nonprofit consortium of 206 universities, 70 corporate partners (including IBM and Microsoft) and a number of government agencies, including the Library of Congress, to develop the next generation of Internet technologies.

The RIAA has sued more than 9,000 people for distributing songs using peer-to-peer software like Grokster and Morpheus in the past two years.

In a seperate action announced yesterday the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the world governing body for the international music industry said they were launching the biggest wave of legal actions against internet music file-sharers yet. New cases were launched against 963 individuals in 11 countries across Europe and Asia. Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, Iceland and Japan pursued illegal song-swappers for the first time

Related Links

RIAA Targets New Piracy Epidemic On Special High-Speed Campus Network [RIAA]
High-Speed US Net ‘Pirates’ Sued [BBC News]
RIAA Sues More Than 400 College Students Over Internet2 Downloads [MTV]
New Wave of Lawsuits to Hit ‘Illegal File Swappers’ [the Register]
Music File Sharers Face Biggest Round of Legal Actions Yet [IFPI]
Internet 2: 2004 And Beyond [Tech Republic]
MPAA Eyes Internet2 P2P Traffic [Buzzsonic News]